Save Money on Electricity: SCE Summer Discount Plan

 

Save on Electricty

 

To get you prepared for the Summer months and the high cost of cooling our homes– I wanted to make you aware of the SCE Summer Discount Plan– SCE will give you a discount on your electricity from June 1st-October 1st  by allowing them to turn your AC power off for up to 6 hours per day!

You can choose your level of participation from 4 options: Save more with the “standard” option, or choose the flexibility of the “override” option, which lets you opt out of up to 5 energy event days a year. Then decide between Maximum Savings (100% cycling) or Maximum Comfort (50% cycling.)

SCE Summer Discount Plan

You can enroll beginning June 1st– if you are a renter, you must get permission from your landlord before.

Are you Eligible?

To be eligible to participate in the Summer Discount Plan, your central A/C system must be in good working order throughout your participation on the program. A 1-year minimum participation is required, with exceptions made under medical circumstances. If you have any rooftop air conditioners, you will not be eligible for the “override” options.

Check out more details on the SCE Summer Discount Plan here

photo credit: BBQ Junkie 

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Stretch Your Budget: Reuse Newspaper!

 

Stretching my budget, the “Freeze Your Spending” two week challenge and Earth Month really got me thinking! What one item in my household do I accumulate regularly yet not make the best of?

NEWSPAPERS!

After a bit of research and asking around, I found some pretty cool ideas that will help you not only stretch your budget but can also help entertain the kiddos during the upcoming spending freeze challenge.  Lets start with the “stretch”:

  • Crush newspaper into a ball and soak in a solution of half vinegar, half water for an easy way to clean the windows, mirrors, computer monitors and TV screens. No more paper towels wasted!
  • Line your kitty litter box and trash can with newspaper to help absorb moisture and odor.
  • Wrap gifts with the comic pages or other colorful pages from your newspaper. It will be unique and FREE!
  • Shred newspaper and use it as packing material.
  • If you have a fireplace, use the newspaper as kindling.
  • Use newspaper as garden mulch or weed block.

You can even reuse the plastic bag the newspaper comes in! I thought these ideas were genius:

  • Use the plastic bag as a trash bag in your car, purse or backpack.
  • Pick up pet waste with the bag when out on your daily pet walk. :)
  • When packing for a trip store shampoo, lotion or any other liquid in the newspaper bag.

For those of you entering the two week spending freeze you can turn the newspaper into FREE fun activities:

  • Scrunch the newspapers into balls to toss around. Make a bunch and have a pretend “snowball” war!
  • Make newspaper hats…fun!
  • Make origami ducks and paper airplanes…so cool!
  • Scrapbooking can be an expensive hobby, use your newspapers to teach small children how to make one. They will become pros by the time you buy them the real tools!

The spending freeze challenge might be tough so I hope you find this weeks post to be helpful. Don’t forget to “reuse and recycle”….I’d love to hear any other ideas you have for newspapers!

Catina Mount is a Staffing Supervisor for Riverside Personnel Services, Inc by day and  purpose-filled blogger by heart. You can find her over at “Catina’s Causes” blogging about non-profits in need, personal “causes” she is focusing on and how to save money using the Southern Cali Saver website!

 

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Stretch Your Budget: Reuse Dryer Sheets

 

By now I am sure you never want to see or hear the word “BOUNCE” again after the dryer sheet craze at Target this past month. By the looks of all the pics in the Southern Cali Saver Facebook Group it seems like most of you were able to snag at least 3 FREE boxes and the REALLY lucky “couponers” have beautiful stockpiles full of dryer sheet heaven.

So, the topic of the week…what to do with all those dryer sheets once you have ran them through a cycle. Do you just throw them away? NOPE! The super frugal give the dryer sheet new life. After scouring the internet (and speaking from personal experience) I have compiled a list of great ways you can use that dryer sheet one more time:

  • Sick of buying Swiffer cloths? Use a dryer sheet! Once the cycle is over, pull out the dryer sheet and attach it to your Swiffer. Works like a charm! Wipe down your baseboards with the recycled dryer sheet. Use the dryer sheet as a dust cloth…a quick swipe across the sofa table is all it takes! Wipe down your TV screen (gently of course!). The chemicals help to repel dust.
  • Used dryer sheets still have quite a bit of fragrance…stash them under the seat of your car, in shoes, drawers, anywhere you want a “fresh’ scent. Dryer sheets are tough enough to polish sink surfaces!
  •  If you are REALLY crafty…turn them into flowers for scrapbooking and other arts and crafts. Here is a fun tutorial I found online.

Ok, now it is your turn…what suggestions do you have for giving all those beautiful, FREE Bounce dryer sheets a second life? I can’t wait to hear!

 

 Catina Mount is a Staffing Supervisor for Riverside Personnel Services, Inc by day and   purpose-filled blogger by heart. You can find her over at “Catina’s Causes” blogging about non-profits in need, personal “causes” she is focusing on and how to save money using the Southern Cali Saver website!

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Stretch Your Budget: DIY Laundry Detergent

In my mission to save money, I have always been open minded. I think that as a frugal person–you really need to be. I’ve tried a couple of DIY Laundry Detergent recipes and I’ve found that this works the best for me. It is also HE compatible.

One misconception that people think about Laundry Detergent is that you should see bubbles to ensure that it is cleaning. This recipe will not bubble–so if you like that, you will be dissatisfied– but this stuff really works! My husband often comes home in his chef coats and they have tons of grease stains or smells (sometimes fishy because he works with fresh fish) and I have found that the Homemade recipe works much better for his coats– it eliminates the smell completely (compared to Tide, this stuff does a much better job. Sorry Tide lovers! :) )

This recipe takes about 10 minutes and I pay a total of $5 for everything you see. I make my detergent in small batches:

  • 2 cups Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda ( Winco or Walmart)
  • 2 Cups Borax (Find this at Winco, food4Less or Walmart)
  • 1 Cup grated Fels-Naptha (you can find this in Food4Less, winco and Vons)
  • –grate the Fels-Naptha and combine all ingredients.
Other alternatives to the ingredients above:
Ivory bar soap, dove bar soap, Zote (if you can not find Fels-Naptha)

I use about 2 tablespoons per load. You can also add Oyx Clean to your mix if you have extra messy kids in the house.

 

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Stretch Your Budget: DIY Fabric Freshener

 

Here is another DIY recipe you can make–with items you have at home.

I love Febreze and with two pets (and messy kids) I pretty much need it on a daily basis. We do not find Febreze on the cheap too often so this comes in handy.

Ingredients:

  1. 1/8 cup of fabric softener
  2. 2 tablespoons baking soda
  3. Hot water (i filled a spray bottle up to the neck of the bottle)

Mix and Spray!

Make your own Laundry Detergent here

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Stretch Your Budget: DIY Starbucks Frappuccino (Healthier and less than $0.50 per cup)

 

Sometimes to stretch your budget, you must give up luxuries. As you know, I LOVE my Starbucks–but sometimes it isn’t in the budget. Here is a simple Starbucks idea– that is even  healthier!

Note: If you are sensitive to Xanthan Gum (I am!) ..You can use Guar Gum. OR completely omit it altogether– I choose to add it because it keeps the frap from separating.

  • 1 cup  Starbucks coffee OR 3/4 cup fresh espresso (cold)
  • 3/4 cup milk ( you can use pretty much whatever you want)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar – or Stevia (you could also use sugar in the raw or agave nectar)
  • 2 cups ice
  • Pinch of xanthan gum OR 1 teaspoon dry pectin (keeps it from separating)

Mix and enjoy!

2 Starbucks drinks per week = $32 per month. Saving $32 per month would give you nice Christmas fund at the end of the year! :)

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Stretch Your Budget: Live from your Stockpile!

 

If you have been couponing for some time, you probably have a stockpile of items that you could live off of for a week or two. Sometimes taking a break from shopping and eating only what you have available is a great way to save your family money. Think of it this way– Taking one week off from grocery shopping will save you one weeks worth of your grocery budget.

Yes, eating from your stockpile may be dull and boring (you can only eat pasta SO many times and be happy about it) but this also gives you the chance  to get creative with what you do have.

Of course you would need to purchase fresh fruits and veggies-but this amount is nothing compared to a full fledge week of grocery shopping.

Challenge yourself, if you have the stockpile–use it! :)

 

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